What is azithromycin?
Azithromycin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria also Azithromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Azithromycin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use azithromycin if you have ever had jaundice or liver problems when you have previously taken this medicine.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use azithromycin if you are allergic to it, or if:
you have ever had jaundice or liver problems caused by taking azithromycin; or
you are allergic to similar drugs such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, or telithromycin.
To make sure azithromycin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- myasthenia gravis;
- a heart rhythm disorder; or
- a history of Long QT syndrome.
This medicine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether azithromycin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 6 months old.
How should I take azithromycin?
Take azithromycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. The dose and length of treatment may not be the same for every type of infection.
You may take most forms of azithromycin with or without food.
Take Zmax extended release liquid (oral suspension) on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
To use the oral suspension single dose packet: Open the packet and pour the medicine into 2 ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. Do not save for later use. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
Throw away any mixed Zmax oral suspension that has not been used within 12 hours.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Azithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Throw away any unused liquid medicine after 10 days.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What should I avoid while taking azithromycin?
Do not take antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium within 2 hours before or after you take azithromycin. This includes Acid Gone, Aldroxicon, Alternagel, Di-Gel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Genaton, Maalox, Maldroxal, Milk of Magnesia, Mintox, Mylagen, Mylanta, Pepcid Complete, Rolaids, Rulox, and others. These antacids can make azithromycin less effective when taken at the same time.
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Azithromycin can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Azithromycin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to azithromycin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, azithromycin may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal if it spreads to other parts of the body. Seek medical treatment if you have a new or worsening skin rash with fever, swollen glands, flu symptoms, or severe tingling or numbness.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
liver problems – nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
severe skin reaction – fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Older adults may be more likely to have side effects on heart rhythm, including a life-threatening fast heart rate.
- Common azithromycin side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or
Azithromycin is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. It is a macrolide-type antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
This medication will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
How to use azithromycin
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking azithromycin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily with or without food. You may take this medication with food if stomach upset occurs. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at the same time each day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.
Antacids containing aluminum or magnesium may decrease the absorption of azithromycin if taken at the same time. If you take an antacid that contains aluminum or magnesium, wait at least 2 hours before or after taking azithromycin.
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